Employment law changes - what’s coming into force in April?

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Spring is in the air and from an employment law perspective there are a number of changes are happening in April. We take a quick look at the key provisions coming into force.

Reflecting the Easter theme of new life - blossoming trees, frolicking lambs and baby chicks etc - it seems fitting that April’s changes are primarily family focused.

Shared Parental Leave

April sees the much heralded shared parental leave and pay regime (‘SPL’) finally coming into effect. The new right applies to parents of babies due or adopted on or after 5 April and is also available to parents of children born via surrogacy arrangements. Some employers will already have received requests from employees to take SPL.

For those struggling to get to grips with the complexities of the new regime, there is still time to book a place on one of the remaining sessions of our national seminar - Shared Parental Leave - who’s holding the baby? Click here for details.

Changes to Adoption Leave and Pay

The rights of adopters become more closely aligned with those taking maternity leave.

From 5 April, adoption leave becomes ‘a day one’ right for employees, abolishing the previous 26 weeks qualifying period.  Statutory adoption pay will also be enhanced to 90% of average earnings for the first 6 weeks of adoption leave. This will bring statutory adoption pay in line with statutory maternity pay. 

Local authority approved adopters who have a child placed with them on a fostering-to-adopt basis will also be eligible for adoption leave and pay as will parents who have a child via a surrogacy arrangement.

Adoptive parents also gain new rights to take time off for pre adoption appointments from 5 April 2015.

Unpaid Parental Leave

From 5 April, the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of all children under 18, (subject to their having at least one year’s continuous employment). To date the right has only applied to parents of children under 5 or 18 if a child had a disability.            

EEF members can find further details and model policies and documents reflecting these changes in the Family rights and flexible working section of our website.

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Principal Legal Adviser

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